Candidates Spar Over Guns-On-Campus Issue

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Eight Arkansas state legislative candidates debated the issues affecting the University of Arkansas at a candidate forum Monday.

Two candidates vying for state House District 84, Republican Charlie Collins and Democrat Adella Gray, disagreed on whether to allow students and faculty to carry guns on campus.

Collins, who holds the District 89 Arkansas House of Representatives seat, said he plans to re-introduce a bill that would allow on-campus concealed carry by only faculty and full-time staff.

“I just feel that it’s not for the university campus,” Gray said.

“Concealed carry holders have the training, the background checks and the experience to be responsible,” Collins countered.

Gray said allowing guns on campus would be unnecessary because of the job campus law enforcement already do.

“I was academic coordinator to the Razorbacks at one time and never, never felt uncomfortable or afraid on the university campus,” Gray added. “I think our campus police do an excellent job.”

Collins said gun-free campuses do not deter criminals, and that allowing concealed carry would make criminals think twice about attacking anyone on university property.

“I think the crazies and killers know, hey, this is a gun-free zone for me and if I want to go make a statement or be famous, I can go here and do this and kill a whole bunch of people and I’ll be on the TV news. And I want to deter that,” Collins said.

Both candidates said they have researched this hot button issue by talking to professors and campus police.

Gray said she is not anti-gun, explaining that her husband participates in concealed carry.

“To me, when 95 percent of campus police say they do not think we should have guns on campus, that’s enough for me,” Gray said. “I feel that they are the ones responsible for keeping people safe on campus.”

Collins countered saying he believes law enforcement would not be overwhelmed by guns appearing on campus legally.

“That’s part of all police involvements in any gun situation, whether it were on a university campus or anywhere else, frankly, and we have concealed carry in most areas in Arkansas,” Collins said. “So I think that’s something police will be able to manage pretty easily.”

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.